I have always loved the French aperitif snack of crisp radishes served with butter and sea salt.
Sitting around a table outside with friends in a lovely setting, chilled glass of wine at hand while dipping buttered radishes into crunchy salt is, for me, one of the many treats of summer. The smooth butter tames any fire the radishes might contain, and the two opposing textures work really well together.
It recently occurred to me that there might be another way of serving this and, while this snack lacks the hands-on aspect of the original, it is a nice update on a classic.
This recipe serves 2 people generously at cocktail hour. It is an easy recipe to scale up for more guests.
1 bunch of radishes, greens removed, well washed and topped and tailed
1 stick of softened premium unsalted butter
Finishing salt such as fleur de sel or Maldon salt
Finely chop the radishes, either by hand or in a food processor. Reserve two tablespoons of the chopped radish and tip the rest into a bowl along with the softened butter.
Mash the butter and chopped radish together until the radishes are evenly distributed through the butter. You could add some herbs at this point if you wanted to, I considered tarragon, but decided to stay with the flavors of the original.
Using two spoons, form the mixture into a ball in the bowl. Wet your hands and form the ball into a better shaped one.
Sprinkle some finishing salt on your cutting board and roll the butter ball through it. Repeat with the chopped radish that you set aside so that the butter ball is coated with radish pieces and the butter can not be seen. You may have to press the pieces in.
Serve with Melba toasts or, as I did, home made garlic toasts.